Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue says that Vietnam would rather attract one more million travelers than export 1 million more tons of crude oil. Crude oil was an important factor which made a great contribution to economic growth for a long time, but things have changed.
In 2017, Vietnam exported 13.28 million tons of oil, 3 million tons lower than 2016. Reports show little impact of crude oil exports on Vietnam’s economic growth in the last two years. Instead, export growth now relies on electronics and mobile phone exports.
“It was easy in the past to exploit an additional 1-2 million tons of oil. But now it is not. The mining output in the first nine months of the year was 8 percent lower than the last year,” Hue said.
Economists said this is good news that Vietnam is seeking new channels for economic growth with no reliance on crude oil. Reasoning that growth not based on crude oil will be a path to sustainable development in the context of shrinking fossil-based energy and a developing tourism and service sector.
A report from VNAT (Vietnam National Administration of Tourism) found that in the first nine months of 2017, revenue from the tourism sector reached $16.5 billion, an increase of 26.5 percent over 2016. Vietnam ranked sixth among the 10 fastest-growing tourism countries and it is leading in Asia in tourism development.
SSI Research commented that in the current circumstances, Vietnam needs to restructure the economy and seek new motivation for economic growth, such as hi-tech agriculture and tourism.
South Korea is the biggest foreign direct investor in Vietnam with capital mostly in the manufacturing sector. And Chinese businesses are now more interested in Vietnam real estate because of the government decision to allow foreigners to buy houses.
The mining industry still makes up 10 percent of GDP, which analysts say is still very high. But export turnover depends on global market demand and prices.